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   Reference numbers for alternate embodiments
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Russ
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Reference numbers for alternate embodiments
« on: Jul 18th, 2007, 2:16pm »
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Hi, I'm an independent inventor writing a pro se PPA, and this is my first post.
 
In my description section, the preferred embodiment (PE) of my invention has reference number 1000.  
Later, I also describe an alternate embodiment (AE), which has a part, 112, that is different from the one in the PE, and an extra part, 119, not in the PE.  The AE is shown in FIG. 15.
 
Questions:
Should the AE have its own reference number, such as 1000a, or could it, for example, just be referred to it as "the embodiment of FIG. 15"  
Also, if I do give the AE a separate number, should the differentiating parts get individual numbers also, say suffixed with a letter, such as 112a and 119a?  
Or, do all the elements of the AE then also need separate numbers, since they are all part of a different embodiment?  
Or could I just use the same numbe and say something at the beginning of the description such as "like  
reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the several views"
 
This numbering thing is driving me crazy.
Thanks for any assistance.  
 
Russ
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Isaac
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Re: Reference numbers for alternate embodiments
« Reply #1 on: Jul 18th, 2007, 4:46pm »
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on Jul 18th, 2007, 2:16pm, russ wrote:
Hi, I'm an independent inventor writing a pro se PPA, and this is my first post.
 
In my description section, the preferred embodiment (PE) of my invention has reference number 1000.  
Later, I also describe an alternate embodiment (AE), which has a part, 112, that is different from the one in the PE, and an extra part, 119, not in the PE.  The AE is shown in FIG. 15.

 
I seldom (i.e. never) refer to an embodiment as preferred (or best) or imply that some other embodiment in not so preferred.   Instead I describe the embodiments on an equal footing.   Using "alternate" is probably okay unless you've called some embodiment prefered.   At least when there are small numbers of embodiments, you are only required to describe the best mode.  You aren't tasked with specifically designating any mode as best.
 
I usually label different embodiments with different but related numbers.    I might use 100 and 200 for the different embodiments.   I don't like using suffixes to identify similar or identical parts between embodiments, but there is no rule saying that you cannot do so.    You could use 1000 and 2000, and then label the sub parts of each embodiment using numbers in the 1000s and 2000s if you like.
 
But there's also nothing inherently wrong with differentiating by the figure number.   But if you have to preface every reference each  figure and to each item within a figure with a reminder of what figure you are describing, the result is going to be pretty clumsy.
 
For sub parts in different embodiments, it's okay to label identical parts that function identically in each embodiment using the same reference number.   But if there is any difference in function or in the alternatives for the part such that the description of the parts in the two embodiments is different, I'd use a different reference number.    But if you elect to use different numbers for identical parts, you can make that work too.   You can indicate in your description that part 2112 has identical function and structure to part 1112 if that's the case.
 
 
So maybe  in the first embodiment, I'd refer to rotor 112 and in the second embodiment I label the similar but somewhat different part rotor 212.  Maybe I label an identical part as wire 120 in both figures.   I think it's pretty clear what to do with part 119 although I'd probably call it 219.
 
 
Quote:
This numbering thing is driving me crazy.
Thanks for any assistance.  
 
Russ

 
There are lots of ways to do this right.   For the most part you are probing around a number of  acceptable methods.  
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Isaac
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Re: Reference numbers for alternate embodiments
« Reply #2 on: Jul 21st, 2007, 1:51pm »
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on Jul 18th, 2007, 2:16pm, russ wrote:
Questions:

Answers:
(Well, this is how I always tried to do it, anyway.)
Quote:
Should the AE have its own reference number, such as 1000a, or could it, for example, just be referred to it as "the embodiment of FIG. 15"

IMHO, it should have its own reference number, with a lead line having an arrow on the end to point to the collection.
Quote:

Also, if I do give the AE a separate number, should the differentiating parts get individual numbers also, say suffixed with a letter, such as 112a and 119a?  
Or, do all the elements of the AE then also need separate numbers, since they are all part of a different embodiment?

If the parts are identical in form and function, reuse the old number.  If the parts are different in some way, give them a new number which is somehow related to the old number.  I think I followed Isaac's rule, which was to bump up the number by 100 (id est, part 119 in embodiment 100 would be part 219 in embodiment 200).
 
I think I have to disagree with Isaac on one point:
Quote:
Isaac wrote:
But if you elect to use different numbers for identical parts, you can make that work too.   You can indicate in your description that part 2112 has identical function and structure to part 1112 if that's the case.  

 
37 CFR 1.84(p)(4) indicates that the USPTO wants the same reference numbers to be used:
Quote:
37 CFR 1.84(p)(4): The same part of an invention appearing in more than one view of the drawing must always be designated by the same reference character, and the same reference character must never be used to designate different parts.

 
 
Quote:

Or could I just use the same numbe and say something at the beginning of the description such as "like  
reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the several views"

I don't think a statement to that effect is actually necessary, but it's used quite often, and it shouldn't hurt.
 
Quote:

This numbering thing is driving me crazy.
Thanks for any assistance.  
 
Russ

You'll get used to it.  Grin
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Isaac
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Posts: 3472
Re: Reference numbers for alternate embodiments
« Reply #3 on: Jul 23rd, 2007, 7:35am »
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"37 CFR 1.84(p)(4): The same part of an invention appearing in more than one view of the drawing must always be designated by the same reference character, and the same reference character must never be used to designate different parts. "
 
I interpret this to mean that the reference number used on a part would have to be the same in different views that illustrate the same part in the same embodiment, but that reference numbers would not have to be the same for identical parts in different embodiments.
 
 
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Isaac
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